Different Toilet...

Corbin Macklin

Credit: WWE.com

If we're being real, the top of this year's WrestleMania card is stacked. Brock Lesnar vs Drew McIntyre. Roman Reigns vs Goldberg. Edge vs Randy Orton. The Fiend vs John Cena. A level under that is AJ Styles vs Undertaker. Rhea Ripley vs Charlotte Flair. Becky Lynch vs Shayna Baszler. But then go back a year. WWE did NOTHING to follow up any momentum Becky Lynch got from beating Ronda Rousey. Seth Rollins fell off in the hearts and minds of the marks. Kofi Kingston is right back to being just another guy. See, it's one thing to get fans invested in the pursuit of championships but a whole nother to take that wrestler to another level while not hoping they lose the belt 4 or 5 months later. I hope this year is different.

We know off top, after Goldberg and Cena lose, they're going to go away. Edge is going to beat Orton and be around for the biggest shows as a part time attraction. This Mania will be a failure if McIntyre wins the belt and there is no meaningful follow up. There is great potential if they do feuds with him versus AJ Styles and Seth Rollins but not much after that on the heel side. Last year, WWE followed up Rollins dethroning Brock... With a long Baron Corbin program. The follow up is so important. WWE followed a compelling storyline with Daniel Bryan with months of Kofi Kingston fighting KO, Samoa Joe and other randoms that had no momentum or heat. Then he defended against Orton where they reminded us of the history they had from the decade before. From a narrative sense, Kofi's reign had an interesting beginning and ending but a blah middle.

I honestly believe championships carry more meaning when they are defended less. In real sports, the leagues have one championship decided a year. In combat sports, a top fighter might do two fights a year. I'm not saying WWE needs to do one title match a year but it waters down storytelling to have, say 13 or more title matches on WWE Network and 10 or so on television. Of those they might get us to believe 4 of those could be a title change or at least interesting title retentions. The rest are transparent holding pattern time wasters. On SmackDown, after Roman beats Goldberg, there is only one interesting program on the horizon. That is with The Fiend. If they're smart, they'll hold off on doing that until maybe Survivor Series or Royal Rumble. This is WWE so they'll hotshot it to SummerSlam. NO ONE wants to see Baron Corbin vs Roman Reigns but for the belt this time. I want to see Shinsuke Nakamura in a program with Roman but don't believe they'd put Nakamura over. We know Braun Strowman vs Roman can be good BUT they've already killed so much of his monster aura by having him fail so many times to win championships so he needs to be kept away from the belt until they're ready to crown his ass. Long range fantasy dream matches for champion Roman are names like Cena, and The Rock. I can see Cena happening. Maybe next year at Mania. Reality is... Roman has never had a championship reign longer than a couple of months. That makes him transitional more than "the guy" so... That means IF they go all in on him it means a good year of marks complaining that everyone on SmackDown is being buried, however, you must feed The Big Dog.

A year ago, arguably the biggest and hottest star in wrestling was Becky Lynch. At the same time her fiance was having ice water poured on him, she went from working with Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey to Lacey Evans. That's no slight or disrespect to Lacey Evans, who has shown a lot of potential as a worker as either a face or a heel. The problem was that she wasn't working matches and they just hot shot her into a feud for the championship. The feud with Sasha Banks should have been better but same thing, Banks wasn't going to win but came back straight from a sabbatical to competing for the belt. This leads me to how Shayna Baszler appears on Raw and first thing she does is attack the champion. They're having a predictable Elimination Chamber match we know Baszler is winning leading to a match where there are three options and all of them are bad.

1.) Becky Lynch retains and you just had another person go straight after the belt without establishing anything first so now going forward they have NO heat

2.) Baszler wins and this is good because she is a beast but at the same time I still feel like she should have had some build on Raw doing squashes and a few competitive matches first

3.) They do a fuck finish and Becky Lynch has Baszler in the Disarmher when Ronda Rousey's music hits and now you have the intrigue of two friends who want the belt and you know one of them is likely to succeed but marks will be offended at the fuck finish.

Last year, I wrote that I would have Drew McIntyre beat Roman and then take the belt from Rollins and build to a rematch where Roman takes the belt from Drew after failing before. What WWE did instead was have Drew lose and win the Rumble to not get much out of beating Brock. What I mean by that is... WWE had Brock end the streak and destroy Cena for the belt so they could have more meaning behind Roman beating him at Mania. Then they changed their minds and Roman failed to beat him at Mania twice. Brock has lost the belt to Roman once after Roman failed like 36523624 times and lost it to Rollins THREE times. He has lost to Undertaker and Goldberg. The value of beating Brock has gone down. A year after they billed Seth Rollins as the Beast Slayer, the beast is back with a different belt. Drew will win and as I have made clear, I have little hope the aftermath will be as meaningful as that win will be. This IS a momentous win for Drew. He went from The Chosen One to a comedy jobber to fired then NXT and now a champion crowned at WrestleMania. What a story. Here's hoping the commentators don't talk about his ride being miraculous and magical like they did with Kofi. Because then you reduce it and make it seem like a fluke. Where Kofi is birdchested and doesn't look like he can beat anybody, Drew looks the part. He benefits even less from being made to seem like someone just happy to be in that spot. Yes, he overcame some things... But his overcoming was an inevitable eventuality. He was made for this shit.

Charlotte going after the NXT women's championship excites me for multiple reasons: NXT loses to AEW because it is literally the C show with a bunch of people marks like but ultimately don't care about. Ever since NXT TakeOver has been a thing, people have sworn NXT is better than Raw and SmackDown while NXT draws one third of the television audience. If Charlotte wins the NXT belt it has three benefits:

1.) Charlotte is not winning the Raw or SmackDown championships leaving more opportunities for others

2.) Maybe Rhea Ripley grows some more from working with a Flair

3.) Who would it mean more for Bianca Belair to win her first championship from? Ripley or Flair?

WWE needs to look at sending more of its name superstars to NXT. There is a glut of superstars on Raw and SmackDown not really doing anything

I think NXT would be dope if Daniel Bryan, AJ Styles, Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura went back. Not at once, not at the same time. But imagine if NXT was rotating names like KO and Strowman and Cesaro???????

WWE has too much talent for everything to seem like it's meaningless and unimportant. They just need to move people around like I was just speculating about to keep matchups fresh.